Google trumps Mozilla with opt-out feature


Google has beaten Mozilla to introduce a feature into the Chrome browser letting users opt-out of ad tracking cookies.

The announcement follows calls from the Federal Trade Commission for a Do Not Track' add-on something Mozilla announced it was working on yesterday.

Mozilla had not revealed a date for when such a feature would be included in its Firefox browser, but Google made its Keep My Opt-Outs tool available for Chrome yesterday evening.

Whilst there are already ways to opt-out of such tracking, Google said there have been some technical challenges with them.

"If you clear your browser's cookies, all customized settings - including these opt-outs - are lost."

"Another challenge is that sometimes new companies offer opt-outs, so you'd have to check frequently to make sure you're opted out of what you want," a Google blog post read.

Mozilla had also spoken of attempting to make its proposed feature standardised across the browser industry, but Google said it is working to make the feature available for other browsers as well.

"We've also decided to make the code for this extension available on an open-source basis, so that other developers can let us know if there's a bug, or even extend the code's capabilities if they want to," Google said.

"We're excited by the speed of innovation in online privacy and look forward to seeing future developments."

However, for those who want to permanently opt out of ad tracking, they will only be able to do so from those companies offering opt-outs through industry self-regulation programmes.

There are more than 50 companies that are members offering opt outs through these initiatives, Google said, including the top 15 largest ad networks in the US.

Tom Brewster

Tom Brewster is currently an associate editor at Forbes and an award-winning journalist who covers cyber security, surveillance, and privacy. Starting his career at ITPro as a staff writer and working up to a senior staff writer role, Tom has been covering the tech industry for more than ten years and is considered one of the leading journalists in his specialism.

He is a proud alum of the University of Sheffield where he secured an undergraduate degree in English Literature before undertaking a certification from General Assembly in web development.